As World Cup mania took the world by storm, Azusa Pacific's summer sports camps gave local youth a chance to live out their dreams with the sports they love. Instead of just watching and looking up to athletes on television, these youth had a chance to interact with college athletes while learning skills needed to pursue those dreams of being professional athletes. This year, APU hosted two sport campus focusing on soccer and softball.
The softball camp had 23 eager girls ready to enhance their softball skills while having fun. The camp was run by Cougar softball assistant coach Gina Oaks and members of the softball team, who were pleased by the camp’s turnout.
"I would definitely say the camp was a success," said Oaks. "We were able to shed some light on these young athletes and teach them many great softball skills they can work on with their teams and when they practice on their own."
The soccer camp was also a big success, with more than 100 participants ready to hone their soccer skills alongside players from APU's men's and women's soccer teams. Campers participated in several activities and drills that improved their dribbling, balance, shooting, and endurance, including crabbies, a popular soccer activity that allows the participants to work on their hand eye coordination as well as defensive skills.
Three-year old Micah Maljian was one of many first time campers who enjoyed their time at soccer camp.
"My favorite part was playing crabbies, and the soccer scrimmage at the end of practice," said Maljian. "I also liked learning how to balance one foot with Coach Kelsey Walker."
Senior midfielder Kelsey Walker enjoyed working with the kids and was very pleased with how the camp turned out.
"The camp was such a fun experience being able to see all the young kids in Azusa taking such an interest in soccer," said Walker. "The kids had such a fun time and seemed to have more energy and understanding of the game each day."
Both teams were very pleased with how their respective camps went, and they were not alone with their feelings.
"All the parents were pleased with the camp," said Oaks. "They are definitely looking forward to working with the local community girls again at the next camp in August."
The softball team plans to have additional softball camp days in August. If the first camp was any indication on what the next camp will have in store, the softball team can expect more smiling faces.